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Canucks, Leafs make big gains in NHL Power Rankings

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Scott Cullen
11/28/2011 4:51:35 PM
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There were no changes in the top three spots of the TSN.ca NHL Power Rankings, but the Vancouver Canucks made a big jump, from 11 to four, this week.

The Canucks have been thriving with Cory Schneider between the pipes instead of Roberto Luongo, allowing a total of three goals against during a four-game winning streak.

Generally, it's not particularly favourable for a team to lose its starting goaltender but, in the Canucks' case, with Luongo struggling and Schneider appearing to be one of the most highly-qualified backups, it turns out that Vancouver has been better off, at least in the short-term.

Vancouver wasn't the only Canadian team making a significant jump this week, as the Toronto Maple Leafs returned to the Top 10, going from 18 to nine, as goaltender Jonas Gustavsson has suddenly provided a measure of stability in goal, winning his last four starts.

In addition to their improving situation in goal, the Leafs are left with the enviable problem of figuring out what to do with their glut of talent down the middle. Mikhail Grabovski returning from injury leaves the Leafs trying to find spots for red-hot Tyler Bozak, Tim Connolly and Joe Colborne, a trio that has combined for 25 points in 27 games this month.

The fickleness of goaltending worked the other way for the Nashville Predators, who dropped from six to 12, after allowing 17 goals in four straight defeats.

Injuries to Jaromir Jagr, Chris Pronger and James van Riemsdyk decimated the Flyers, dropping them from fourth to 12th.

The Minnesota Wild continue to lead the Northwest Division, but dropped from 10 to 16 after suffering back-to-back 5-2 losses to Edmonton and Calgary, leaving the wild with the league's 15th-ranked goal differential (plus-2).

Among other Canadian teams, the Edmonton Oilers sit 10th, as they await word on the severity of Taylor Hall's shoulder injury. The Montreal Canadiens have two regulation wins in the last dozen games, and have fallen to 20th, two spots ahead of the Ottawa Senators. The Winnipeg Jets are up one spot to 25th, while the Calgary Flames have dropped to 27th.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Cory Schneider (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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